How to start a web design & web development business from home? It is really simple to start your own web design company or business. All that you need is a computer with access to the Internet. You don’t even need to know web development or coding!
A large number of websites come up each day and old ones need improvements to retain the creative edge and stay up to date with the latest fashion for websites. Even your local boutique or restaurant wants to go online because it does help in getting new clients and customers.
Here is a step-by-step web design business plan for creating a successful web design agency. It doesn’t matter whether you want to become a full-time web designer or a freelance web designer in your after-work hours.
Step 1: Learn the Basics of Web Design
Though you can start a web design and development business without knowing anything about creating websites, it is highly recommended that you get the basics. What are the latest trends in web design? What kind of websites are more popular? Having the basic idea of web design terms will help you talk to your clients and also close deals easily.
Even if you are a pro, you should brush up your HTML, CSS, jQuery and PHP skills. Also, look at the latest trends in web design. You can visit W3C School, PHP.net and jQuery official websites for comprehensive free resources. There are several free tutorial websites as well.
Step 2: Create your Web Design Business Website
Before telling others to get a website, you need to build one yourself. Make a professional looking website which leaves good impression on your prospective clients. Don’t use Flash. Use the latest standard techniques to make a fast and interactive website. Use jQuery to jazz up your website.
Get a domain name (Godaddy.com recommended) and unlimited web hosting (buy it from Hostgator.com with 20% discount) if you don’t have it already. Install WordPress or any other content management system and set up your awesome web development business website. (You can read this article about creating a WordPress website/blog.)
Step 3: Create a Portfolio
Just having a website is not enough to win clients. You need to show them your previous work. They will often ask for it.
If you haven’t created any website for clients, use your imagination and create at least four different websites for different segments in which you want to work. If you want to solicit web design work from restaurants, make sure that you have at least one sample restaurant site in your portfolio.
Showcase your web design portfolio on your website.
Step 4: Advertise to get Clients
Now, that you are ready to accept web design work, it is time to solicit clients. You can advertise on Google Adwords, local newspapers and websites offering your services. Local page of Craigslist website can be a good place to start. Try to make your ads appealing by offering value add-ons or cheap rates for select work. Once you have the client, you can sell them additional services at better rates.
Step 5: Bid on Freelance Websites
You can also join freelance websites such as Elance and Freelacers to get work. People who need their website made post their requirements on these websites. Start by bidding attractive rates for these projects. Once you are established, you can ask for better rates.
Step 6: Blog for New Clients
Writing informative article on web design and offering freebies helps in getting attention from prospective clients. You can start your own blog and also write guest post on other established blogs to gain exposure.
Step 7: Create Free WordPress Themes
WordPress is the most popular CMS for creating websites. It is easy to use and also liked by Google. If you offer your clients the option to choose between a HTML website and WordPress-powered website, they will most likely choose WordPress.
If you don’ know how to create WordPress themes, head on to http://codex.wordpress.org and learn everything about using WordPress and creating themes.
Once you know how to create WordPress themes, create a couple of nice and trendy WordPress themes for free distribution. Make sure to add details about your web design services and your contact details in the WordPress theme options page or in the “readme” text file with the theme. Try to get it approved for the WordPress official themes repository.
Once you have some free WordPress themes in WordPress themes repository, sit back and wait for clients. As the official themes repository is searched by almost every WordPress user, you can get quite huge exposure.
Step 8: Offline Clients
A large number of small businesses do not know the benefits of going online. If you can convince your local businesses about the benefits of having a website, you will have a huge amount of work. Rather than selling just web design services, offer a complete package with web design, hosting and domain name as a bundle. You can buy reseller hosting from Hostgator to offer cheap hosting and domain names to your clients.
If you have any query or question, please feel free to drop me an email or connect via social media. I would be more than happy to help you start your own web design business.
Best of luck, mate!